Phys .org: Online shoppers swayed by customer reviews of physical products—not experiences

Phys .org: Online shoppers swayed by customer reviews of physical products—not experiences. “We live in a world of online reviews. Before spending on everything from restaurant meals to a new pair of jeans or even a European vacation, many of us often check Amazon, Yelp or TripAdvisor first. But not all customer reviews are created equal. In fact, we put more trust in reviews about material items than we do about experiences.”

BBC: Google ordered to reveal author of Australian dentist’s bad review

BBC: Google ordered to reveal author of Australian dentist’s bad review. “An Australian court has ordered Google to identify the person behind an anonymous bad review of a dentist. Dr Matthew Kabbabe, a teeth-whitening specialist in Melbourne, sought the order so he could sue for defamation.”

Wired: Behind the Scenes at Rotten Tomatoes

Wired: Behind the Scenes at Rotten Tomatoes. “Strange as it is, a website that evaluates films via cartoon tomatoes might be the closest thing our fractured, post-gatekeeper culture has to an arbiter of good taste. The site’s Tomatometer has become, as one early employee put it, a Good Housekeeping Seal for visual entertainment. Red means good, green means bad. The Tomato­meter is run by a team of ‘curators’ who read just about every known review from a gigantic pool of approved critics, then decide if each is positive or negative. Once a movie has five reviews, it is Tomatometer-eligible.”

New York Times: When Is a Star Not Always a Star? When It’s an Online Review

New York Times: When Is a Star Not Always a Star? When It’s an Online Review. “An increase of just one star in a rating on Amazon correlates with a 26 percent increase in sales, according to a recent analysis by the e-commerce consulting firm Pattern. But while online reviews have become powerful sales tools, the ecosystem is relatively crude. Reviews can be easy to manipulate, and the operators of sites with the most reviews are not always motivated to crack down on fake ones planted to promote products. That leaves many consumers wondering what to believe.”

The Verge: Angry Fans Keep Wrecking Podcasts With One-Star Reviews

The Verge: Angry Fans Keep Wrecking Podcasts With One-Star Reviews. “Podcast reviews can be easy to game, and Apple Podcasts has become the main target for angry fans interested in taking down a show. Apple’s service is the biggest name in podcasting, and it’s one of the few major platforms that allows listeners to leave public reviews. While hosts abused that feature in the past to beat the system with fake positive reviews, others have used it to inundate hosts they don’t like with a barrage of one-star marks, making the shows look like a bust.”

TechCrunch: Facebook still full of groups trading fake reviews, says consumer group

TechCrunch: Facebook still full of groups trading fake reviews, says consumer group. “Which? says it found more than 55,000 new posts across just nine Facebook groups trading fake reviews in July, which it said were generating hundreds ‘or even thousands’ of posts per day. It points out the true figure is likely to be higher because Facebook caps the number of posts it quantifies at 10,000 (and three of the ten groups had hit that ceiling).”

University at Buffalo: How online neighborhood reviews could aid urban planning

University at Buffalo: How online neighborhood reviews could aid urban planning . ” Every day, people share a dizzying amount of information about local communities online. They talk about whether their neighbors are friendly, how well the buses run, what kinds of restaurants are in an area, and much, much more. A new study by University at Buffalo researcher Yingjie Hu shows how we can sort through this vast trove of digital data to improve cities and people’s quality of life.”

Search Engine Land: Massive fake review attack has big impact on small businesses

Search Engine Land: Massive fake review attack has big impact on small businesses. “The Local SEO community was recently plagued with a massive fake review attack that impacted small businesses globally. A collection of 37 profiles left over 3 million fake 4-star ratings. By the time Google removed them all about five days later, the average profile had left over 81,000 ratings for various businesses.”

Yahoo Finance: Google might be hiding the fact that its own reviews are shoddy

Yahoo Finance: Google might be hiding the fact that its own reviews are shoddy. “If you Google ‘Chiropractor Bethesda Maryland,’ you’ll see Google’s famous 10 blue links. But you’ll also see a box with a map — a snippet — at the top with local results, star ratings, and buttons for phone number and directions. Clicking further will show you reviews people left on Google Maps. Google is ostensibly providing a service to make it easy to get what you want: a chiropractor in Bethesda. But what if these reviews aren’t particularly good or reliable? This is a question that has come up based on the fact that Google’s library of local reviews is no longer available apart from the Maps platform or the box above search links.”

BuzzFeed: Yelp, The Red Hen, And How All Tech Platforms Are Now Pawns In The Culture War

BuzzFeed: Yelp, The Red Hen, And How All Tech Platforms Are Now Pawns In The Culture War. “Only a few hours after White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ tweeted this weekend that the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, had refused to serve her, negative reviews began flooding the Red Hen’s Yelp page. First came the comments skewering the restaurant for political bias and underwhelming ambiance, and then — because this is the internet — came the user-uploaded images of swastikas. Within 24 hours, the number of reviews tripled from 5,000 to over 15,000, and by Sunday evening, the restaurant’s aggregate star rating had dropped from close to five stars to just two.”

Krebs on Security: A Sobering Look at Fake Online Reviews

Krebs on Security: A Sobering Look at Fake Online Reviews. “In 2016, KrebsOnSecurity exposed a network of phony Web sites and fake online reviews that funneled those seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction toward rehab centers that were secretly affiliated with the Church of Scientology. Not long after the story ran, that network of bogus reviews disappeared from the Web. Over the past few months, however, the same prolific purveyor of these phantom sites and reviews appears to be back at it again, enlisting the help of Internet users and paying people $25-$35 for each fake listing.”

Firefox Quantum: The Browser Made for the Future (Make Tech Easier)

Make Tech Easier: Firefox Quantum: The Browser Made for the Future . “I am not too privacy conscious, nor do I hate Google’s ecosystem. Therefore, Firefox has never been able to win me over. However, with the introduction of Firefox Quantum, I was one of the keenest users to try it out. It promised amazing speed, new minimal design, and a bunch of changes that will make Firefox go head to head against the other browsers (or Chrome, particularly). So did Mozilla manage to fulfill the promise? Well, I’ve been using Firefox Quantum since its release, and I am pleasantly surprised by its performance, design and stability. Today, let’s see where the new Firefox stands and whether it’s worth a look or not.”

Search Engine Land: Negative reviews from ex-employees are finally against Google’s guidelines

Search Engine Land: Negative reviews from ex-employees are finally against Google’s guidelines. “Google recently updated its review policies to clarify that reviews left by former employees are considered to be in violation of its guidelines. Columnist Joy Hawkins explains that this was (unfortunately) necessary.” Thanks for hopping on the clue bus, Google…

Lifehacker: This Tool Lets You Examine Tons of Amazon Product Reviews at Once

Lifehacker: This Tool Lets You Examine Tons of Amazon Product Reviews at Once. “Thinking of spending a pretty penny on that shiny new gadget? Well, you might want to take a look at some Amazon reviews first so you know what you’re getting into. If the thought of digging through hundreds of reviews sounds like a chore, though, this free tool will make it easy.”

Science Blog: Yelp Reviewers Take A Dimmer View Of Nursing Homes Than The Feds

Science Blog: Yelp Reviewers Take A Dimmer View Of Nursing Homes Than The Feds. “The stars are not aligned when it comes to online reviews of nursing homes. A new study by the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology shows that Yelp reviewers give nursing homes significantly less favorable ratings than those found on the federal website, Nursing Home Compare, run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).”